Technology is a double edged sword. As a result of it, humanity gains numerous advantages over societies of the past. But with the advantages gained, there are detrimental consequences as well. Though technology provides us with convince and more efficient ways of doing things, it also can take away from the person ability of our lives. Industrialization is made more efficient through technology, increasing the efficiency to which individuality is taken from us. Technology can become a means to dominate society. One example of this is nuclear weapons. Nuclear warfare could cause world devastation resulting in the end of existence. Those in possession of the technology can use it to control those without it. The loss of past ways of life is another downfall that is associated with the application of technology. An example of technology changing ways of the past is in how people drive. Fifty years ago, many cars did not have automatic transmissions. The new technology of automatics was more expensive, and allowed people to drive who did not know how to use a clutch. Though these automatic transmissions made driving more convenient, it also opened the door for people to do many other things in cars besides just driving. With the work of shifting out of the picture, people were free to drink beverages, put on makeup, talk on cell phones, eat and do about anything but pay attention to the road. This contributes to the awful way many people drive. Not only do automatic transmissions hurt motorists’ ability to focus on the road, it takes away from some of the essence of driving. The feeling of downshifting into the sweet spot of an engine's torque curve is one of pure exhilaration. The disengagement and engagement of the clutch gives drivers a crisper feel for the feedback roads are giving to the drive wheels. Technology gives power to those who have it, makes the money driven capitalist model more efficient, and takes away pureness and innocence of old ways of life. Americans just seem to sit back and accept the changes new technology brings without considering if they actually are better for society. Sure, cable television provides viewers with hundreds of crystal clear channels about anything they want, but at what price? Going out and doing the things viewers watch on television is priceless compared to watching them on a screen. This blindness is caused by the monopoly technologies have on our society.
Technology is not all bad though. Medical technology keeps people alive with pace makers, gives amputees limbs, and through cloning; it may soon be possible to grow human organs to a person’s DNA to replace failing ones. Everyone benefits from technology. Modern tools make physical construction and labor possible at scales that would have never existed one thousand years ago. Advancements in material technology allow us to build stronger and lighter. Stone and brick made way to steel. Composite materials like carbon fiber are even stronger and lighter than steel. Amazing buildings of the future could be supported by a carbon fiber structure rendering steel archaic. Society in America, for the most part, just accepts new technology without questioning the negative aspects that accompany it. These examples just scratch the surface of the opportunities presented to us by technology.
When no restrictions are placed on technology, it tends to act in a very dominant way over nature. For example, the Hover Dam provides power for millions, but it completely flooded the river basin behind it drastically altering the natural environment. Automobiles and other mass polluters have torn a hole in the protective ozone layer, now exposing millions who live near Australia to suffer from high rates of skin cancer. Although there are debates to the degree of negative affects global warming is caused by humans, our pollution and changes to the natural environment do not help. Ice caps are melting and oceans are rising. Our use of technology may soon wipe out much of the world’s coastal population’s homes. Designers need to be careful when evaluating which technologies they plan to use in a design. Though every technology has benefits, there are negative aspects to it as well. By using technology to coexist with our environment, rather than dominate it, our existence in the future will be plagued by fewer problems.
Continue reading "Technology: A Double Edged Sword" »